Amber Guyger Files Appeal Against Murder Conviction, Arguing That Killing Botham Jean Was Reasonable Self-Defense

Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger after hugging Botham Jean’s younger brother at her sentencing in October 2019.
Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger after hugging Botham Jean’s younger brother at her sentencing in October 2019.
Photo: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News (AP)

Who’s surprised to hear this news?

Lawyers for Amber Guyger, the former police officer in Dallas who shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his own apartment in 2018, have filed an appeal against her murder conviction.


Guyger’s attorneys are requesting she be acquitted completely of murdering Jean, for which she was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year, or be charged instead with a lesser crime of criminally negligent homicide, reports CBS.

From CBS:

Guyger’s attorneys argue in an appeal that the evidence originally submitted in the case “was legally insufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Guyger committed murder.” They said she was confused about her location because the third and fourth floors, where her and Jean’s apartments were located, look identical.

“Her mistaken belief negated the culpability for murder because although she intentionally and knowingly caused Jean’s death, she had the right to act in deadly force in self-defense since her belief that deadly force was immediately necessary was reasonable under the circumstances,” the appeal reads.

Although she also had a taser and pepper spray on her person along with the gun that was used to kill Jean, Guyger’s attorneys argue that officers are trained to not use these weapons “when faced with a deadly situation.”

Let’s recap the deadly situation (that was made deadly by Amber Guyger): she entered a young Black man’s apartment—which was a floor above hers—found him sitting on his couch and eating ice cream, and used her gun to shoot him in the heart.

That’s what happened.

Still, I am not surprised that Guyger is now trying to claim she killed Jean in self-defense. Disgusted, but not surprised. It’s a legal defense that’s gotten many a police officer out of facing consequences for killing Black people.

The appeal also argues that she isn’t culpable for murdering Jean because the apartment building had an “absurd design” and “incompetent management” that led her to ignore all the signs that his apartment wasn’t hers.

Meanwhile, the Jean family’s attorney says the appeal flies in the face of Guyger’s show of contrition at her sentencing for the murder, during which she cried and was comforted with hugs from the presiding judge and the victim’s brother, who said he “forgave her.”


“After admitting her crime and asking Botham Jean’s family for mercy— Guyger’s actions in filing this appeal reflect someone who is not repentant but instead was hoping to play on the families sympathies at the time that they were most vulnerable,” attorney S. Lee Merrit said in a statement on Friday, according to CNN.

That much is certainly clear. But I would argue that it was clear then too.

Either way, Guyger’s lawyers have also asked to have their appeal heard by oral argument, which means she probably isn’t seeing prison any time soon (if at all).


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Writer, speaker, finesser, and a fly dresser. Jamaican-American currently chilling in Chicago.


Mercenary Chef

Bitch, you broke into another person’s home and fucking shot him. The only thing that’s ‘reasonable’ here is seeing you put under the jail.